As we know, “asana” means a manner of sitting or a posture. Many of the basic yoga postures were in sitting positions. As the practice developed, standing poses were introduced, but the sitting manner, meditative aspect still remained. Tree Pose, with its grace and meditative benefits, is like a standing variation of a sitting meditation posture. Keeping grace and concentration while balancing on one foot will teach you to swing gently like a tree in the wind, steady and sure no matter what the outside state of affairs may be.
Vrikshasana yoga or tree pose asana focuses mainly on the mental aspect of balancing along with physical strength. If you are stressed or if your mind is disturbed, your body is likely to be unsettled too, and, of course, the very practice of trying to balance is stressful.
Mythologically, the Tree pose asana or Vrikshasana yoga is also called Bhagirathasana, in honor of a legendary Emperor, Bhagirath, who was also a yogi, from India. The ancient scriptures give a reference that Emperor Bhagirath stood on one leg for a long time to please the Hindu god Shiva. He convinced Shiva to allow him to bring the sacred river Ganges from heaven to earth. The river Ganges, which is also popularly known as Ganga in India, has been the source of consciousness throughout India. Wherever Ganga went, it spread the light of liberation. That is the reason you will find all the forms of liberation seekers based around the banks of the river Ganges to date in India. Interestingly, Tree pose asana also signifies Bhagiratha’s intense penance. It is intended to inspire seekers to always be above the obstacles.
When you are in this pose, one looks like a tree, unmoved, beautiful, and deeply rooted. This is the physical aspect of the Vrikshasana yoga, but it has an internal manifestation too. Trees are magnificent creatures. (Not scientifically though, but would like to use artistic license to call them creatures). If some of the inner qualities of a tree could be imbibed by humans, we would live our lives magically. The always giving, never complaining, always rooted, and withstanding all the changes in nature with grace are some of the great qualities of a tree, if absorbed, that can make our lives magical.
Vrikshasana yoga needs focus and balance, and above all, patience.
Tree Pose Meaning
Vrikshasana originally comes from the Sanskrit words Vriksha, meaning tree, and asana meaning pose or posture, thus tree pose meaning Vrikshasana yoga.
Let us understand the Vrikshasana benefits
- Strengthens the body
- Works on balance and flexibility
- Helps to stay focused
- Stretches and strengthens thighs, groins, ankle, spine, and shoulders
- Strengthens ligament and tendon
- Improves posture
Steps Of Vrikshasana
Here are the steps of Vrikshasana yoga.
- Step 1. Stand straight
- Step 2. Bend the right leg from the knee, place the right sole on the inner left thigh
- Step 3. The left knee should be straight at the knees. Breathe normally. Find your balance
- Step 4. Lift raise your hands overhead and bring them together in Anjali mudra or pranam mudra. Looking far and straight would aid in balancing. Keep your spine comfortably erect. Breathe easy. Relax the body and hold the pose as per your comfort
- Step 5. Slowly come back to the starting pose. Repeat on the other side
- Another thing that old scriptures point at is something called activating the root lock. It is said that if you master your Mula Bandha (root look) in your tree pose, you will acquire more stability in the posture and improve your balance. One of the ways of doing that is by drawing your tailbone in, engaging abdominal muscles, and not engaging the glutes. Once you learn to engage the Mula Bandha, of course with some able guidance, all the balancing asanas will be streamlined and you will have a more composed experience.
Time And Duration
Hold for up to one minute. With practice, you can maintain tree pose asana as per your comfort.
Tree pose asana requires high levels of focus and concentration. To perform tree pose asana, morning is the best time as the mind is fresh then.
If you have high blood pressure, do not lift the arms up; just hold the Namaste pose at the center of the chest. Vrikshasana yoga asana should be performed with wall support and for a shorter period of time by elderly people or people with osteoporosis, inner ear conditions, or balancing issues
Seek Expert Advice
- If you have a headache
- If you have migraines
- If you have insomnia
- If you have high or low blood pressure
- If you have heart problems
Tree Pose For Beginners
For some of us, it might seem easy to stand on 1 leg, but when you try to do it you would realize it is not as easy as it seems. Fixing your eyes on a faraway point would be helpful. This will help hold this posture without losing balance.
Mastering balance is like trying to clench your fists around a piece of melting ice or slipping sand. Tree pose not only a strengthening or flexible pose but also feeling grounded and still.
Patience is required to master this asana. Now the question is, why are we as a generation less patient? If we had the balance of patience of ancient people and the speed of today’s technology, we would live far more fruitful lives and have prosperity in the true sense.